Chairperson: Dr. Roberta Davilla
Office: Sallee Hall 221
Telephone: (309) 298-1507
(309) 298-2369

Faculty: Bailey, Chung, Crossman, Dallinger, Davilla, Hawkinson, Hogg, Jorgensen, Kang, Lauer, Macchi, Mathison, McEwan, L. Miczo, N. Miczo, Miller, Pfafman, Ridle, Wu, Zanolla.

Academic Adviser: Grimm.

Communication is a discipline that has a long tradition and yet is still very contemporary. Rhetoric—the persuasive use of language—was the first academic discipline that was developed in ancient Greece and was for many centuries considered the most important part of higher education curriculum. Following this tradition, the Department of Communication program explores rhetoric as a part of everyday life. In addition, the program investigates the role communication plays in the development and maintenance of relationships among people, groups, organizations, and cultures. The undergraduate program emphasizes critical thinking, listening, and expression so that students are able to adapt to and communicate effectively within an increasingly complex world. Two primary goals of the program are to help students understand the complexities of human communication processes and relationships and to develop skills and abilities to apply this information in a variety of contexts.

The Department of Communication offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Students select two areas of emphases from course sequences in interpersonal communication, organizational communication, persuasion, and rhetoric. A Minor in Communication is also available. A full-time academic adviser assists students in planning their programs of study.

Graduates of the program frequently enter careers in human resources and services, marketing, management, training and development, public relations, advertising, business, education, international relations, law, and government and politics.

GradTrac is available to Communication majors.

Honors Curriculum

Academically qualified students in this department are welcome to complete an honors curriculum in University Honors, Upper Division Honors, or Lower Division Honors. All Honors students must complete the one-hour honors colloquium (G H 299). Lower Division Honors includes General Honors coursework. Upper Division Honors includes honors work in the major. University Honors combines Upper and Lower Division Honors. For more information, view the honors curricula info or visit the Centennial Honors College website.

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts—Communication

All students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Communication must complete I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. The minimum semester requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h. Current WIU students must be in good standing (2.0 GPA or higher) to declare a major in Communication.

  1. University General Education Curriculum: 43 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 12 s.h.
    Comm 130, 247, 311; BC 323
  3. Directed Electives
    1. Students must choose two sequences (a, b, c, d): 12 s.h.
      1. Organizational Communication: Comm 343 and 413†
      2. Interpersonal Communication: Comm 344 and 410†
      3. Persuasion: Comm 356 and 456†
      4. Rhetoric: Comm 312 and 441†
    2. Communication Electives: 9 s.h.
      To be selected from Communication courses with a minimum of 6 s.h. at the upper division level.
  4. Directed Electives in University General Education Humanities: 6 s.h.
  5. Any Approved Minor: 16–20 s.h.
  6. Open Electives: 18–22 s.h.

†Completion of two of the following courses fulfills the WID graduation requirement: Comm 410, 413, 441, 456.


Minor in Communication: 18 s.h.

  1. Comm 130 and 247: 6 s.h.
  2. Select three of the following: Comm 312, 343, 344, 356: 9 s.h.
  3. Comm Electives from courses numbered 300 or higher: 3 s.h.

Course Descriptions


130 Introduction to Human Communication. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Introduction to the various approaches and sub-fields which comprise speech communication, with focus on theoretical foundations of contemporary human communication theory.

170 Fundamentals of Oral Interpretation. (3) Study of basic oral interpretation techniques which develop sensitivity and responsiveness to literature, enabling the student to communicate the re-creation of this literary experience to an audience.

215 General Semantics. (3) Analysis of the role of language in confusion, conflict, and prejudice. Consideration of the phenomena of identification, distortion, abstraction, ambiguity, and projection. Use of clarity, accuracy, and evaluation in language.

241 Introduction to Public Speaking. (3) (General Education/Communication Skills) Preparation and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. Students apply concepts of critical listening, audience adaptation, organization/support of ideas, appropriate style, and effective delivery. Accelerated section available. IAI: C2 900.

247 Argumentation. (3) A theoretical and practical course investigating source, structure, and nature of argument, reasoning, critical thinking, and validation of evidence. Prerequisite: COMM 241 or consent of instructor.

254 Great Speeches. (3) (General Education/Humanities) An analysis of representative speeches that have significantly influenced the course of human events.

305 Interviewing. (3) Theory of interviewing and its purposes in various communication settings. Practical applications of the principles of interviewing.

311 Research Design in Communication. (3) An introduction to designing and evaluating communication research. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; ENG 180 and 280.

312 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism. (3) Study of critical standards in rhetoric and the application of theories and methods of criticism. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

315 (cross-listed with WS 316) Gender Differences in Communication. (3) This course examines gender and gender-role differences and similarities in verbal and non-verbal communication and surveys several contexts in which sex differences in human communication occur. Not open to students with credit in WS 316. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

341 Problem Solving in Groups. (3) Examination of significant factors which affect the behavior and effectiveness of social and task groups. Study of group behavior research. Practical experience in analyzing and participating in group decision-making.

343 Organizational Communication. (3) Survey of the major communication functions in organizations and their relationship to personnel, administrative, technological, and social factors. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

344 Interpersonal Communication. (3) Theory and concepts relevant to face-to-face interaction. Focus on the content of talk in relationships and the role of talk in creating and defining relationships. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

356 Introduction to Persuasion. (3) Introduction to the study of the elements affecting people's opinions and decisions. Focuses on three general categories of variables: source, message, and audience characteristics. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

360 Communication Practicum. (1–8, repeatable to 8) Provides practicum experience for the student in communication. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and department chairperson.

377 Nonverbal Communication. (3) Introduces basic codes, properties, and principles of nonverbal communication. Multidisciplinary content approached from scientific perspective rather than intuitive and experiential judgments. Designed to improve communication effectiveness and understanding of the communication process. Prerequisites: COMM 130.

400 Senior Honors Thesis Research. (3) Bibliographic and other preliminary work in preparation for a senior honors thesis (see COMM 401). Students will produce a final, graded project for this course. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 401. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be juniors or first-semester seniors majoring in communication.

401 Honors Thesis. (3) Students will write a senior honors thesis. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 400. Prerequisites: COMM 400; ENG 180 and 280; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be seniors majoring in communication.

409 Communication and Conflict Management. (3) Study of the role of communication in conflict. Consideration of major theories of conflict management. Prerequisites: COMM 311; ENG 180 and 280.

410 Theory and Methodology in Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of theory, concepts, and methodology relevant to dyadic interaction. Examination of and participation in field, survey, and experimental studies of interpersonal behavior. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 344; ENG 180 and 280.

413 Advanced Organizational Communication. (3) Study of communication failure in small groups and organizational settings. Examination of field, survey, and experimental studies contributing to the understanding and improvement of group and organizational communication. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 343; ENG 180 and 280.

414 Communication Technologies in Professional Speaking. (3) Preparation and delivery of longer speeches and presentations in professional settings utilizing advanced rhetorical principles and advanced communication technologies. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; COMM 241.

418 Independent Research in Communication. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Individual reading or research under supervision of the faculty. Open to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated competence in broadcasting, communication, rhetoric, public address, or the speech-language-hearing sciences. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; consent of instructor and department chairperson.

419 Propaganda. (3) Study of the nature and history of propaganda. Students will analyze one or more propaganda campaigns. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

425 Health Communication. (3) This course will survey a number of topics relevant to both the institutional settings of medicine (e.g., doctor-patient interaction, media campaigns) as well as the interpersonal ramifications of illness (e.g., social support). Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of instructor.

430 Communication Training and Development. (3) This course explores the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in effective communication training and development in organizations and/or consulting in the field of communication. Prerequisite: COMM 311.

441 Rhetorical Processes in Politics. (3) Examination of modern theories and practices of speech communication through their application to political rhetoric. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisite: COMM 241 and 312; ENG 180 and 280.

456 Persuasive Campaigns. (3) Study of the design and execution of persuasive campaigns. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 241 and 356; ENG 180 and 280.

480 Special Topics in Communication. (1-3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chair) This course deals with selected topics of interest in communication such as nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and family communication. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; completion of at least 12 s.h. in communication.

496 Communication Internship. (1–12, repeatable to 12) Directed work assignments in private or public sectors in communication areas. Students may count up to 3 s.h. of COMM 496 toward the communication major. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; permission of internship coordinator and department chairperson; a GPA of 2.50 in major courses taken as well as an overall GPA of 2.25 required. Graded S/U only.

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